Did you ever have a person in your life who always made you feel like you were important? Like, even if they did not actually say it, they went out of their way to make you feel special and loved? My maternal grandmother, my Nana, was that person for me. She was not the most physically demonstrative person. She was not comfortable with verbal sentiments. She was a practical, no nonsense New England lady and I adored her.
Every Thanksgiving, my Nana would make a huge fruit platter. She got every fruit and nut you could possibly imagine. She was sure to get the grapes I loved, bananas for my brother, fresh florida oranges for Grandpa, walnuts for my mom and so on. She always remembered which treat was the favorite of each child or grandchild. Although it is currently sitting in a box in a climate control storage unit, someday I will pull Nana’s platter out and load it up on Thanksgiving for my precious grandsons (and hopefully granddaughters) to inhale until their bellies hurt!
Nana had the best games. She taught us to play Parcheesi and pick up sticks. She gave me my first cootie shot. She made molasses cookies because they were my uncle’s favorite. She always had a supply of Good Humor ice cream bars. You know the ones, vanilla ice cream with that delicious chocolate shell. And she would travel the town to buy the ones with the riddle on the stick. Just because she knew we enjoyed them.
She had Disney placemats that she would put on the dining room table, probably to protect her good lace tablecloth but we were certain it was because we loved them and she loved us. They each had a picture on them from a Disney film. There was one with Arthur from the Sword in the Stone, there was one from Snow White, one with Donald Duck, and one with Pinocchio. Nana knew which one was which grandchild’s favorite and always had them set at the appropriate place. I don’t know what happened to those placemats. We found the one with Donald Duck and it lives with my oldest grandson, Ezekiel. I smile every time I see it.
My Nana taught me so much. She taught me to love music. She taught me that hymns don’t have to be boring. She taught me that church was important and that God is bigger than anything I will ever face.
I remember, soon after my grandfather died, talking with her about life. I had been married a few years and had a toddler and a newborn. I was so tired and irritated and feeling so sorry for myself. My Nana looked me in the eye and said, “Beth, your grandfather left his shoes on the floor next to his chair every day for 54 years. I used to get so mad at him every time I tripped over them. Every single time! I would yell at him for not caring about what was important to me, for being inconsiderate. Do you have any idea what I would do to trip over his shoes just one more time? Thank God for dirty laundry, for socks on the floor, dishes in the sink. All that is a blessing from God.”
Well, that stopped my whining! And, although I still have my moments, I feel the Lord remind me of Nana’s words sometimes when I am over reacting to stupid stuff that just doesn’t really matter.
I loved my Nana. I am so thankful for the wisdom she shared, the love she showed, the heritage she imparted. I am so looking forward to doing the same thing with my grandchildren. Cuz that is what Nanas do.